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11
Mar
21

Apparition

Tania recently asked me ‘What was the best wildlife moment of my life?’ I had to think carefully because I’ve had a few experiences over the years. However, I came down on the side of the first time I saw a Moose in Canada.

As kids we’ve all seen pictures in books of things that enthrall us. Well, these images get burned into young minds. Indelible records that never leave us. Images that perpetuate actions later in life. Seeing the Golden Oriole on a Brooke Bond Tea card. A front piece in a book of the ‘Mallard’ steam train. Rupert flying on the back of an eagle in the tale of ‘Rupert and the Diamond Leaf’. A drawing of a Moose in a book about North America was one of those images. It was very ‘Landseeresque’ in the style of Monarch of the Glen; a moose with full headgear. I wanted to see a Moose. I needed to see a Moose; it was firmly on my bucket list.

Planning the trip to Canada in 2012 I’d taken a look where they were densest in number. The biggest ‘bags’, after all they are still a ‘shootin an a fishin’ community out there, were around the Gaspe peninsula. I must say at this point that everyone I’d talked to about Moose said they were difficult to see; something that was reinforced by what I’d read, but hey you have to try don’t you?

The trip fitted in nicely with the close season so there was less likelihood of being shot and the weather in August was usually quite pleasant.

One year later and twenty miles along a rather bumpy slate, scree like track and a few miles walk into thick forest I’d taken a seat aside a small pool where the heat of the day would surely bring in a Moose. Several hot and quiet hours later the apparition of being appeared between the trees.  Silently and slowly, it came nearer. A big boy with full palmate antlers. So moved was I to see such an iconic creature I was almost scared to sound off the shutter on the camera. I remember welling up at seeing such a modern-day dinosaur.

What was your best wildlife moment?

21
Dec
20

Bald as a Coot

If Great Tit’s did Darth Vader…

16
Oct
20

Sitting Tight

Anyone that comes with me to Scillies knows we usually take a trip to the island of Tresco. So it was again this week. The draw was two or three Little Buntings that had been seen around a large sallow growing at the edge of the Abbey Pool.

We stood more than a short time waiting for the buntings to show. They called and we even saw one in flight but they wouldn’t come out onto the path to feed. As usual when waiting for something that is being one stage up from elusive our eyes began to wander. In among the pool edge vegetation was a smart Nearctic wader; a Pectoral Sandpiper.

It fed around the pool most of the time we were there and if you were cautious, quiet and still, it ventured close. Smart birds these. As with most high Arctic breeders not at all conscious of humans.

As for the Little Buntings, we had to wait a further day for a similarly elusive bird back on St Mary’s to give itself-up.

05
Oct
20

In the grass

How can anybody not love a grass snake?

10
May
19

Morning Martins

I wandered down to the local Sandmartin Colony the other day. They make entertaining and challenging photographic subjects. No netting on this part of the cliff so they are able to nest in the cliff-face as freely as they wish.

02
May
19

Showing Well

The Purple Heron at Burnham Overy showed well on today’s tour despite the rain.

 

07
Dec
18

Iconic

If you look up Kookaburra in a bird book it’s filed away under Kingfishers and allies. It is indeed very kingfisher like. Outside there were about 6 or 7 birds that came to feed each evening on the insects that gathered on the newly mown lawns. Such an iconic Australian bird with an iconic Australian call. They don’t call it the laughing Kookaburra for nothing.

08
May
18

Unexpected

Not an expected conflict in Norfolk skies. A Marsh Harrier depicted here having a spat with a Hooded Crow.

Someone did say to me this was a hybrid Hooded/Carrion and quoted others as saying ‘because it had speckles on the breast’. I didn’t see these and it looked good to me!

03
Feb
18

Masters

‘Make like a tree’. Tawny Frogmouths are just the masters of disguise.

04
Jan
18

Over the border

A trip into Suffolk at the end of last month gave some astounding views of a Great Northern Diver near Lowestoft. Look at that incredible red eye. I wonder why the eye is such a red colour? It shares this feature with other divers and some of the grebes. Perhaps it aids sight in the dull light of murky water. Its eye was pointed skyward a few times. I feel sure the beast had seen something high in the air; a raptor perhaps? Try as I might I couldn’t see anything, but I’d be willing to bet my right arm there was something up there. I’m constantly amazed sometimes how the eyesight on birds has developed to an extent beyond our understanding.

 




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